Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Meet Thomas

I would like to introduce you to Thomas, our newest resident on our farm. We have one more on the way and I then I cannot squeeze in another resident at this time! Thomas is beautiful, stunning, gorgeous - you can pick your superlative and it would apply. Thomas arrived in the middle of one of our dental days a couple of weeks ago. Jason, myself, Amy, the dentist, my dad - we all just crowded ourselves around his stall door and admired him for a few minutes. I have yet to take a picture of Thomas that comes even remotely close to capturing his beautiful self, not one of the pictures in this post comes even close to showing what he looks like when you see him in person.

Thomas


Thomas has one of the most gorgeous necks I've ever seen on a horse, and it is attached to a really pretty head. Thomas is a Holsteiner that was imported from Germany as a three year old. Unfortunately he has made his way to our farm needing to be fully retired at the age of seven. His owner deserves a medal and a lot of recognition for her commitment to Thomas.

Look at that lovely neck

His lovely, uphill canter

Thomas started off as a show hunter, competing on elite circuits like the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida. When he was six his owners decided to sell him as a dressage horse because he was a beautiful mover and not in love with jumping even though his form over the jumps was great. His owner bought him to be her dressage horse.

Thomas certainly does not mind being retired

She had only had Thomas for a few weeks when he began exhibiting some pretty strong behavior problems under saddle. She immediately began looking for physical causes and began her long and frustrating journey that lasted for the last year. They were already working to correct his front feet and a bone scan revealed issues in three different areas of his body.

The cutest part of his face is his white bottom lip which you can't really see in pictures

As she said, that began her several month journey of trying to treat Thomas' soundness issues. I won't go into detail on everything she did but she went all out with various joint injections, shockwave treatments on four different areas of his body, treatment with Tildren . . . the list is long and distinguished.

Striking a pose for me

At one point, several months into all of the treatments, it seemed like they were making progress. Thomas appeared to be sound and was going well under saddle. However her hopes were dashed again when the behavior problems came back and were as bad as they had ever been. Back x-rays revealed that he had kissing spine, which was probably secondary due to some of his other problems. She said she decided to stop torturing both of them at that point and accept that Thomas was going to have to be retired.

Having a "meet and greet" session with Leo and Trigger
Having been through the ups and downs with diagnosis, treatment, more diagnoses and treatment, and ultimately retirement, I can fully relate to what she has been through. However I cannot imagine finding myself in that situation after having only owned the horse for a few weeks! I don't think her situation could be any more heartbreaking or frustrating. She only enjoyed her lovely new horse for a few weeks before starting her roller coaster journey that led to retirement a year later.

Grazing with his new friends
Talk about having to truly sacrifice and accept a rotten situation. She has a beautiful, athletic, talented horse that she basically never had the opportunity to really ride. I am continually amazed by her graciousness and generosity of spirit when I communicate with her about Thomas. From the first day she contacted me she has never once complained or said anything negative about how things turned out for her and Thomas. I'll be honest, if I ended up with a young retiree without ever really having had the chance to ride and enjoy my horse, I would be an expert at feeling sorry for myself and complaining often and loudly to anyone who would listen. There are not adequate words to express how much she has impressed me as I learned more and more about her journey with Thomas.

Grazing nose to nose with Trigger

Please join me in welcoming Thomas and recognizing his amazing owner for making such hard choices for her horse. She certainly deserved a lot of recognition for her handling of the situation. She has absolutely earned my respect. The saying of one man's trash is another man's treasure definitely applies to this situation as we are thrilled to welcome Thomas to our family!

9 comments:

allhorsestuff said...

That is a beauty of a horse and also, former owner. I really respect her for the love in that decision to place him there, with you.
Gorgeous horse!
Thanks for showcasing him and your Loverly Paradigm farm of mercy and love!
KacyK

Kate said...

Lovely horse! And what a story - that's one fine owner to take care of a horse like that at such a young age.

ZionFarm said...

He is STUNNING! Absolutely beautiful. I would also be feeling sorry for myself if I were in the owners situation. Hats off to her!

LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

Quite a beauty Thomas is and such a shame. What is kissing spine? What were some of his behavioral problems, if you don't mind me asking? The owner probably had to realized (like I have had to) that staying in self pity and complaining only makes the situation worse and is a waste of time/energy. Besides people may be able to listen/empathize but they cannot fully understand unless they've experienced it themselves. Someone always has it worse off than yourself if you dare to look outside to others and not focus on self. I'd say she's a woman that has had a chance to develop her character and rise above! Bravo!

Jon said...

Looks like Trigger has got himself a 'homey.

raphycassens said...

What a wonderful person to retire Thomas with you. So nice to see someone do the right thing...

AmberMac said...

what a pretty boy!!! could u email me on your prices for future ref.?

Vivian, Apollo's Mom said...

My heart goes out to Thomas and his owner. I can empathize completely although I had the good fortune of riding Apollo for 4 years before his illness and retirement. What a gorgeous equine- my favorite, black with white socks! I wish him well!

Shootforthemoon said...

Wow- he's stunning!!! Is his spinal condition exclusive of all work, or is it possible he could learn to go in harness comfortably?